Whedonopolis/Maria G: First of all, thank you for talking to us, and secondly, I apologize once again for that question…
David Fury: (laughs) No, don’t be silly! It was fun! The whole point of these things is for people to have fun anyway. You asked a very legitimate question that nobody in the panel could answer, but I know these guys. These guys always make fun of—they’re not cut out from the same “Buffy” fabric. These are all just men that get together and smoke cigars and talk politics… and now they’ll start talking about how well I write for women, so… (laughs) I appreciate it, it’s a great compliment; but they’re going, “Oh, wait until we get him in the writer’s room!”
WMG: So the first question is- the episode “10PM-11PM” in Season 6 is my favorite of the season, largely because of the scene between President Palmer (DB Woodside) and Tom Lennox (Peter McNichol), which actually made me laugh out loud. You’ve written strictly funny things, like “Pinky & The Brain” and, of course, “Buffy”, that mixed comedy and drama. Is it difficult staying so serious/intense on 24? And will you try to slip in more light moments to give us a break?
DF: I would love to slip in more comedy, and I tried in my early tenure in the show, I tried, and people were very nice about it, they said, “This is very funny; it’s just not our show.” They’re not comfortable; ultimately, they’re just not comfortable with the humor and I understand it, because the show is a little bit more grounded in a dire reality, and the characters are much more grave; they’re not going to be prone to quips. The real time aspect makes it hard for anybody to absorb from that period of time and be kind of funny about it, it’s all happening in the moment, cos it’s all in real time, so consequently it is hard for me to work in it and I’m happy and gratified that there’s something there, some character things that will bring a smile to someone’s face, but it’s not certainly something that I’ll be able to do more on the show. It’s the way it is. By the way, what episode was it? Because I don’t remember the times of these things…
WColleen Kelly: When President Palmer was brought out of the coma and launched the missile, and then Tom talked to him about why the Vice-President backed down.
DF: Oh, yeah, yeah! You have very good taste! I’m very proud of that.
WMG: Of course she has good taste! We both like Spike, come on!
DF: Hey, I like Spike!
WMG: (giving thumbs up) Season 6 ended with Jack (Bauer) all alone. On “Buffy,” a big theme was that, “In the end, heroes are always alone.” Is that a theme for 24 or just coincidental, because you all like to torture Jack?
DF: Mm-hmm. I think they do share some similarities, Jack with the other heroes I wrote for on Buffy and Angel, in that the role they serve in life certainly is not—does not help when it comes to relationships, does not help when it comes to having a normal life or a family life. These are the warriors we rely on, who as much as they may crave normalcy, they’re sort of destined to be our saviors. It is a very solitary and sad thing, but by the same token, their sacrifice is our gain.
WMG: Good… After all he goes through, will Jack ever get to go home with his family intact and be happy with a good day’s work?
DF: I don’t think he has enough family to go home to anymore! (laughs) But that would be a lovely thing for Jack, and we’ve certainly talked about it. We’ve talked about—and we hinted about doing it prior to the last episode of last season; we talked about, “Wouldn’t it be nice to see Jack end the season happily?” Like he regains something that he’s lost. In other words, he could have easily ended up at the end of last season with Marilyn and her son, you know, his sister in law and her son, and they could have found a new life, a new normalcy, but ultimately, when you get right down to it, it feels unsatisfying. As much as we crave it- we want him to be happy, we want him to be able to rest easy now: “Thank you for all you’ve done, you can now…” But I think there’s a part of us that needs our heroes to always be searching for that, you know? The tragic hero, never being able to get it.
WMG: You guest-starred on Buffy and Angel…
WMG: Do you think you’ll ever get to do a guest spot on 24?
DF: (sighs) I’d love to do a guest spot on 24, but unfortunately the executive producer and co-creator of the show, Joel Silver, specifically said he doesn’t like to have anybody from production doing any kind of guest spots. I tried to explain to him, “I’m really an actor, and writing is just my day job, you know? You can feel better about it; it’s not like you’re giving a writer a job you’re taking away from an actor; I am an actor.” He didn’t buy that, so right now I think it’s not very likely that it’ll happen, it’s also, unfortunate that, because of the nature of the show and doing two episodes at once, I won’t be able to direct an episode because it’s a long time to be out of the writer’s room. I’d be out 16 days of prep, and 16 days of shooting; I’d be out a month and a half, closer to two months and they can’t miss me that long in the writer’s room. They can’t spare any of the writers that long, so… I don’t think you’re going to see me on 24. I’d love to think that, since I believe this will be my last season on 24, maybe I can stick myself somewhere, but we’ll have to wait and see.
WMG: Okay. You’ve mentioned repeatedly the writer’s room on 24. How is it different from the writer’s room that you guys had on Buffy and/or Angel?
DF: (ponders) Well, on 24 there’s less of a writers’ room per se; usually, two or three of us wander into someone’s office, and we talk about ideas there. There’s no real sense of just the bantering community that there was on Buffy and Angel, where we really bonded; we really became friendly. Here, it’s just very much about the work. They’re all just really great, smart writers; as difficult as the show is to write, the job itself is great; they’re really generous with the time, but unfortunately, as room dynamics go, it’s a little more serious-minded. Instead of debating things like “astronauts vs. cavemen”, we’re really debating genuine political philosophies, and that’s something that I—I’m lost when we’re doing something like that! I’m much more competent when I’m arguing that astronauts ultimately would beat cavemen.
WMG: That’s your position? You’re taking a stand?
DF: Astronauts would beat c
avemen, yes! That’s correct, yes.
WMG: Very well, then.
WCK: Speaking of our writers, in 24 Season 5, there was a character that went to access a computer, and said they needed to talk to “Jane Espenson” in the Accounting Dept. Was that you?
DF: I’d absolutely love to take credit for that, but it was actually Howard Gordon who did it, who knows Jane through—Actually, they never really worked together, but Jane was on Buffy while Howard was on Angel. We’re always using names of people we know, and Jane was the perfect name there. I wish I could take credit for using it, but it’s all Howard’s.
WMG: Cool. We’d like to get one last opinion: James Marsters has said that Steve Tartalia, his stunt double, is as much Spike as he is, and that you are as much Spike as he is.
DF: (surprised chuckle) Really?! Wow!
WMG: Yes! Would you like to reply to that?
DF: I’m… I’m bowled over! I certainly get Steve being mentioned, because so much of the really hard stunt work, some of the more physical things that he did was very much Spike; crediting me with being some small part of Spike, that’s… that’s interesting. I know we had, I think—actually I had one of the best times in my career directing James in that role, for the episodes I got to direct him in. We really got to talk about and explore my take on the character, which he seemed to really respond to. And that was gratifying, cos we all have our own interpretation. There’s a part of me that’s just a fan, anyway, a part of me that goes, “This is Joss’ show. I’m just here, playing in his playground.” And I developed my own theories and my own philosophies, and to be able to express that to James, as smart an actor as he is, and someone who’s lived through this character, and to find this kind of excitement in each other, and go, “Yes, that’s the perfect description!” or “Yes! I didn’t think of it that way!” or whatever, that was so much fun for me as a genuine fan of the show, and I hope it really came across in the final product.
WCK: Do you know where you might be going after 24 ? Because I do base the shows I watch on where you’re writing.
DF: Oh, that’s sweet! I’ll make it known when I know what I’m doing. I’d kinda like to do a show that hasn’t found itself yet? Maybe it’s going to be a new show.
WMG: Are you going to read Season 6 of Angel when it comes out in comic book form?
DF: Will I read it? Sure! Sure! I’ve been waiting for Buffy Season 8 to come out in trade to read it.
WMG: It’s already out, you can buy it at the Dark Horse booth.
DF: I’ll be down there buying it, then.
WMG: Thank you very much for talking to us.
DF: You bet, you bet.